I remember when I was a kid, any time someone had a birthday there would be cupcakes at school. It was always a welcome sight to see a classmate navigating the hallway and trying to juggle a lunch box, backpack, and a box of cupcakes. We knew it would be a good day, because we’d get a break from unimportant matters like fractions while we devoured the goodies and left a trail of paper wrappers and crumbs all over our desks. This happened every single birthday. If your birthday fell on a weekend, you were either carting those cupcakes in on Friday or Monday because there was no way that you weren’t going to have cupcakes with your class on your birthday. If you had a summer birthday, you were bringing in those cupcakes in June so that you weren’t left out. The problem with this logic was that it didn’t matter if you shared a birthday with another classmate (that meant TWO cupcakes on the SAME day!) or if there was a birthday every day for two weeks straight (cupcakes every day! Heaven!). Now things are a little different. The kiddos celebrate all of the birthdays for the month on one day. For M this year I made sure to get the coveted cupcake spot.
M doesn’t love chocolate cupcakes and so when we’re celebrating something for her, I steer away from making them. Because this was a celebration including her birthday, it didn’t seem fair to send her off with cupcakes she wouldn’t enjoy. I made chocolate s’mores cupcakes for the chocolate fans but to accommodate M and any other classmate who isn’t a chocolate fan, I made this vanilla version as well. It was fitting because when we make s’mores, M is happy to leave the chocolate behind and sandwich the marshmallow all alone between two graham crackers. I probably could have just made some vanilla cupcakes and called it a day, but s’mores scream “summer” to me, and when I think of s’mores I think of chocolate. I used it as an opportunity to discuss compromise, but really I wanted to see if I would miss the chocolate from a s’more dessert. These are reminiscent of that idea- a graham cracker crust, vanilla cupcake, and some marshmallow fluff frosting. They’re absolutely delicious and were a great alternative for the kids who don’t love chocolate, but it’ll always be tough to sell me a chocolate-free s’more.
Vanilla S’mores Cupcakes with Marshmallow Fluff Frosting
for the graham cracker crust:
- 1 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
- 7 Tbsp. melted butter
- 1 tsp. granulated sugar
for the vanilla cake:
- 1½ C. all-purpose flour
- 1 C. granulated sugar
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. table salt
- 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
- ½ C. sour cream
- 1 large egg , room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks , room temperature
- 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
for the marshmallow fluff frosting:
- 7-8 oz. jar marshmallow creme (marshmallow fluff)
- 1-2 C. confectioner’s sugar
- 3/4 C. softened butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 cavity muffin pan with cupcake liners.
To make the graham cracker crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a small bowl.
Pour the butter over the mixture and stir to combine until the mixture resembles coarse, wet sand.
Place about 1 Tbsp. of the graham cracker mixture into each cupcake liner and press down using your fingers or the bottom of a drinking glass into an even layer on the bottom of the cupcake liner.
To make the cake batter, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl.
Add the butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla.
Beat at medium speed for about 30 seconds until the batter is smooth.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and stir by hand until the batter is completely smooth.
Fill the prepared cupcake liners 3/4 full.
Bake for 20-24 minutes, until the tops are pale gold and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove the cupcakes to a wire cooling rack to cool completely to room temperature before frosting.
To make the frosting, put the marshmallow fluff into a large mixing bowl or the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Beat the butter and fluff together until smooth.
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Beat in the powdered sugar about 1/2 C. at a time, beating until the sugar is completely incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Use as much or as little powdered sugar as needed to reach your desired consistency (depending on humidity and how I want to frost the cupcakes, I’ve used up to 3 C. of powdered sugar. For these, I used a little over 2 C. and it piped really well).
Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes using a resealable bag with a corner cut off or a pastry bag not fitted with a decorating tip, or as desired.
To garnish, if desired, top with a square of chocolate (I used fun-size Hershey bars and cut them into 4 squares where they are scored).
Makes 12 cupcakes (you make get more but I consistently get 12 out of the graham cracker crust, with a little bit of extra cake batter).